elearning Griffin Library Catalogue Online Databases Interlibrary Loan Citing Sources Writing Center

Paper 2

November 6, 2007 Proposal for Paper 2 due (50-100 words). (Note: This date is later than the date of October 30 listed on your syllabus)

November 29, 2007 Paper 2 due (8-10 typed, double-spaced pages); electronic copy due by 9 p.m. If you are handing in a paper copy, you must hand it in in class. The paper copy is optional; the electronic copy is mandatory.

Presentation Times: You need to sign up for a presentation time. The schedule is here: http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/engl494/present.htm


1. For this paper, you will want to use either secondary sources (i.e., literary criticism in the form of books and journal articles) or additional primary sources--stories, poems, plays--beyond the ones we've read in class.

2. Remember, Wikipedia and "student help" sites like Sparknotes, eNotes, pinkmonkey, encyclopedia.com, and the rest are NOT legitimate sources for this paper. The phrase "secondary sources" means "journals and library books," along with some legitimate literature web sites. Ask me if you're not sure whether a site counts as a legitimate source.

3. Web pages are someone's intellectual property and ALL WEB PAGES MUST BE CITED just as journal articles must be. Copying without attribution is plagiarism, and you will receive an F for the paper even if your paper is only partly copied from a source without attribution. See the syllabus for more information on the consequences of plagiarism.

4. Style counts as well as substance, so edit and proofread your paper carefully.

5. Bring your paper to me before it is due if you'd like to discuss it.


Option I: Traditional Critical Analysis Paper. These are broad topics and are only suggestions; you will need to shape and to limit them.  I encourage you to stop in to see me well before the paper is due. If you want to write on a topic that does not fit under one of these topics, please let me know.

  1. Choosing one or two works, examine the ways in which 1920s ideas of "race memory" or "the primitive" are used to contribute to the themes of the whole.
  2. Themes involving identity, such as characters questioning their place in social hierarchies and in the world, shifting identities, disguises, and "passing," are important in 1920s literature. Choosing one or two works in which these themes operate (such as Passing or The Sun Also Rises), examine the ways in which identity functions. What is identity in these works? Is it fixed and stable, or is it fluid? Might the authors be arguing that a permanent identity is impossible within a culture of modernity?
  3. We've discussed how advertising, movies, music, and other features of popular culture pervade 1920s literature. Choosing one or two works, analyze the ways in which one or more of these features add meaning (including symbolic meaning) to the work.
  4. Closely analyze a film of the era in terms of the literature we have read.
  5. Choose a theme, scene, character type, or idea that you see in several works and analyze its function. For example, many of these works contain scenes in nightclubs, cafes, or cabarets. How is this setting used in these works, and what does it represent?
  6. Closely analyze several poems by one author OR compare and analyze several poems by any two authors such as McKay, Hughes, and Cullen.
  7. The theme of alienation is pervasive in works of the 1920s. Choosing any two works, write a thesis and develop an essay in which you discuss this theme.
  8. Although many of the women in these works are seen as sexualized characters by the authors, there's a significant difference between the way in which a "modern" character like Lady Brett Ashley or Clare Kendry is depicted and the way in which a close-to-the-earth or "primitive" character like Karintha is portrayed. Examine some of the ways in which women are characterized in these works.
  9. Your own topic.

Option II. Texts in Context Paper

1. Drawing either on the 1920s periodicals available at Holland/Terrell Library or on materials at the MASC, examine several issues (at least 1-2 years' worth) of a particular publication. Choose an author, a theme, or a trend that you see appearing in several issues and write a research essay in which you examine this idea or person.

2. Examine a work or works by an author we've read in class. For example, you might want to look at F. Scott Fitzgerald's stories in The Saturday Evening Post or The Smart Set. What other stories, articles, pictures, and ads appear in the same magazine? Closely analyze at least 3-4 of these and discuss them as well as the original story. You might also choose to look at a work's reception in the popular news outlets of the day or to compare it with one or more popular stories on a similar topic.

Here are some questions to help you get started. These can help you to think about your topic, but your paper shouldn't simply answer each of these questions in turn. you don't have to answer all of them, either; they are just here to help you think about the subject.

  1. What is the implied audience for this periodical? What kinds of fiction appear in the volume? Do they address similar themes? Do you notice a preponderance of one kind of story or setting?
  2. How are the stories by this author illustrated? How do the ads and nonfiction articles contribute to your understanding of how the story was originally received? How do the other stories in the magazine relate to the story or author you've chosen? Does the journal publish travel pieces, jokes, articles on current events, letters to the editor, illustrations, and other kinds of matter in addition to literature? Does any of this relate to the subject of the work? How might the existence of these features alter the way in which a reader 80 years ago would have read the work?
  3. Does the magazine version of the work include illustrations? If so, how do they enhance or detract from the experience of reading the book?
  4. Does the magazine version of the work differ from the version as finally published? What’s the effect of these changes?
  5. Judging by the kinds of articles and other materials in the volume, what were the concerns of the original audience? What was the political climate like? Does the journal address or ignore political concerns, racism, and other social issues?
  6. What books are reviewed in the periodical? Read through some reviews and figure out what kinds of qualities were valued in books during that period. What were the controversial literary issues of the day?

Option III.  Annotated Web Version of Text

Texts produced:

Option III asks you to prepare an annotated hypertext (web site) or wiki version of works studied this semester. Your web site or wiki will define words, analyze images and themes, create a coherent interpretation, and provide a brief bibliography of works consulted. Important: It must be available for viewing on the web when you're done.

If you choose this option, your prospectus will outline your plans for the project.  You may work in a group if you choose this option; all participants will share in the final grade. 

In interpretation level and analytical quality, this should match the kind and length of work you would do for the 8-10 page paper; the difference is that your analysis will be broken into shorter segments and connected to the text by links. 

Your group will also need to write a 3-4 page essay explaining why you made the choices you did in terms of analysis. Your paper should provide metacommentary on the reasons why you chose what you did, sites you chose (or declined) to link to, conversations you had about interpretation, ideas, insights, responses to the text, and so forth.

You have server space on the WSU site, if you want to do a traditional web site, or you can set up your web site elsewhere. Free wiki sites (for setting up a wiki) include www.pbwiki.com. I don't recommend wikihost.org because it has several layers of usernames and passwords, and it can be very difficult to log in to the site.